Is Duct Tape Safe for use on Your Skin?

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No toolbox is complete without a roll of duct tape.

Duct tape has been used since the second world war, primarily, for holding metal air ducts together. These days it is used to hold pretty much anything together.

Image: Flickr

This incredible adhesive has made it to the moon and has saved a lot of prom dresses from falling apart.

It is almost magical because of the things that it can do but pulling a strip of it from your skin can be torture.

In recent times, however, people have found beauty benefits from duct tape. It is no longer just a handyman’s trusted tool; it’s every fashionista’s go-to item for instant cleavage.

Over the years and with the different ways that duct tape is being used, a lot of people are starting to wonder whether the DIY solutions they have been told about will end up damaging their skin.

First things first- Is Duct Tape toxic?

Duct-tape is made up of three layers a polyethylene layer a fabric mesh in the middle and a pressure sensitive adhesive at the bottom. Polyethylene is a polymer that is found in a lot of things we use every day.

Duct tape itself does not have a toxic amount of polyethylene to render it harmful. However, in a manufacturing setting where the polyethylene is made and the duct tape produced, it can be dangerous.

Like most polymers or plastics, when polyethylene releases noxious gasses that could irritate your respiratory system, get into your lungs, or cause you to vomit.

So the answer to questions about the toxic nature of duct tape would be: unless you are going to burn it and smoke it, then duct tape poses very little threat to you.

Different variations of Duct tape

There are different types of duct tape with varying strengths. The strength of one type over another depends on the amount of fiber in the middle layer.

Tapes that have more glue than your standard run of the mill duct tape like Gorilla tape are not as resilient. When it is warm the glue gets soft and causes the duct tape to shift.

The other type of tape that resembles duct tape is Gaffer tape.

Gaffer tape is strong, tough and has a strong adhesive. It is used mainly in films, television and stage productions.

Gaffer tape is easier to remove because unlike duct tape that uses a natural rubber adhesive, gaffer tape uses a petroleum-based adhesive. These varieties are less painful to rip off your skin than duct tape is.

Duct tape has been used for things other than taping things together. Another common use of duct tape is:

Removal of warts

The process involves putting a piece of duct tape on the offensive wart for a couple of days. The duct tape is supposed to cut off the oxygen supply to the wart thereby killing it. The wart should literally fall away.

Duct tape was created to block moisture and air where it is applied. Extrapolating from how it removes warts and the water and air proof nature of duct tape, it should not be left on the skin for a long time as it will potentially reduce the flow of oxygen and kill the cells in that area by starving the of moisture and air.

Making emergency bandages

You may find yourself in a situation where you need a bandage but there is no first aid kit inside just your toolkit with your trusted roll of duct tape inside.

You could use the duct tape but do not stick it on the skin or over the wound itself. Rather put a cloth over the wound and then wrap the tape around the fabric to hold it in place.

You do not ever want to put duct tape directly over a cut or even near it. Removing cut tape is extremely painful and it could cause your wound to bleed out more.

Duct tape is a Handy man’s best friend but it has been used to do other things that the creators never envisioned. People have used it to stick dresses onto bare breasts so that could get away with going bra-less.

Duct tape has also been used to remove blackheads and to treat acne and scars. The price of beauty is pain or so they say but sometimes we just need to stop looking for quick fixes and deal with the root causes of our problem.

If you find some sort of release by inflicting pain on yourself then, by all means, put as much duct tape on your skin as you want and enjoy the pain that comes with ripping it off.

Chemistry explained – Adhesives
Raw materials of Duct Tape

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